I was at a party the other night explaining to a friend in her forties that I’d decided to blog about retirement.
“Whatever that means,” she said.
We live in a time when ideas explode. We all read, share, and recite ideas and opinions. The hot ones then take off on social platforms that are like a million launching pads. Word gets out fast these days.
The idea that the new retirement isn’t the old retirement is, I believe, exploding. It is comprised of mind-altering thoughts like these:
It is not the lamentable end of something but the fortuitous beginning of something even better.
It is not an empty void but very possibly a fuller life.
It does not represent decline but a major opportunity to get healthier in mind and body.
It is not a closing down but a chance to open up.
A few months ago, an enthusiastic retiree wrote in this foundational blog post that, “To me, retirement is freedom from worrying about making money, a luxuriously long stretch of free time to grow, learn, experiment, explore, hone new skills, develop relationships, become more aware, have more fun, relax, reflect, train ourselves to age gracefully, clean up stubborn neuroses, test our edges, and generally do things we've put off for years because we were working so hard at one thing. Retirement is not one thing. It's a lot of things. I will be dead long before my ever-expanding checklist is ticked off.”
It can even include working, of all things. At least some of the time.
Retirement is meaning a whole lot more to a whole lot more people. It’s estimated that about 10,000 baby boomers retire every day in the United States and at least another 1,000 in Canada. Those numbers will continue to grow because the cohort is still bulging not receding.
If you’re around my age — and, of course, depending on who you are and what your circumstances dictate — you will be among the millions of people redefining retirement by showing how well it can be done.
It means whatever you want it to mean for the rest of your life.